Behind the Pink Door

Written by Emily

pinkdoor

I could hear Sylvie’s voice two rooms away.

“Gigi. Gigi. Do you like red? Gigi? Gigi? Do you remember this movie? Gigi?”

She’s only two, but her voice hitches a ride on the slightest breeze and fills every room like helium in a balloon until something or someone pops.

“Gigi, look at this. Gigi!”

I should tell her to use her inside voice, I thought.

 

***

My grandma’s front door is bright pink now.

“Great Grammy has a pink door! Awesome!”

I think it was brown before, but I can’t remember. That bothers me because I don’t want to forget the house back then when it was full of family and food. Arms reaching over the table, jokes passed with each serving and between them. My childhood was in that house, in that hot kitchen, around the card table, bathed in my grandma’s giggle and grease.

I hadn’t opened that door for over a year. But I was here now with my three weaving in and around my legs like kittens.

***

It smelled different inside–like a chest that hadn’t been opened for a while or a closet full of old clothes and memories. For a second I wished I hadn’t come. For a second I hated myself for not coming sooner.

Familiar voices called us to the kitchen. I brought an appetizer. Me, a grown-up now.

My littles followed me and chose a lap. Like the yellowed photos in our albums and my memory, hands reached for snacks and soon the kitchen smelled like meat pies and gravy. New babies curled into warm chests. Grown-ups cooed. My kids found places to play just like my brother and cousins used to do when they wore velcro sneakers and Ghost Busters t-shirts. My kids’ knees crawled along the same floors, wearing new paths to adventure. It was Star Wars and Wrestlemania then. It looks like that now, too.

And just like that we found our rhythm inside the house. Like muscle memory, we moved around the kitchen, in and out of conversations, into our places.

I wished my grandpa could have seen us, the kitchen full again, the house full again. A full house was his favorite thing. He would have had something to say to each of us, so we felt a part of all of this, a joke delivered in a voice that was a sure tell every time, a word of advice. Something. Lots of things. My favorite things.

***

I could hear Sylvie two rooms away.

I should tell her to use her inside voice, I thought.

But I didn’t. Not this time. She was comfortable in the house where my childhood lived. She was giddy, and her happy noise filled the cracks and crevices like so many voices used to do.

I hoped her voice would be enough to overcome the silences that snuck in when we all shuffled out to live our noisy lives in our noisy houses and closed the door behind us.

The door. It used to be brown. I remember.

Now it’s bright pink.

 

 

10 comments for “Behind the Pink Door

  1. cathypasierb@gmail.com
    July 1, 2014 at 7:51 am

    It was a really good visit. Grammy was happy to have her house overrun again. What a lovely memory you’ve created for us all!

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      July 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      She was happy, and so was I. It was opening a time capsule for a minute. And then we all assumed our positions. It felt comfortable. I miss those gatherings.

  2. July 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

    This is stunning. I feel it. My great aunt’s house was this house for me. She had a pink bathroom and a pink rotary phone attached to the wall.

    “For a second I wished I hadn’t come. For a second I hated myself for not coming sooner.” And that. God, that.

    Beautiful, tear-inducing piece, Emily. Thank you.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      July 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, Emily. I am so glad it resonated with you and brought back memories of your great aunt. Thank you so much for getting it.

  3. July 1, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Tears. I connected to this so strongly. Children are miraculous and powerful. Your writing is the same.

    • girlalwaysinterrupted
      July 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Oh! Thank you, Jean! Children are miraculous and powerful! Yes! And thank you for your kind words.

  4. Wanda
    July 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Emily I loved it!

  5. July 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It truly is special to see our kids inhabit the spaces (and interact with the people) from our childhood. I had never really thought about that so specifically. Beautifully written.

  6. July 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Lovely nostalgia. Took me home to my own once-brown door. Thanks for this.

    C

  7. Kathleen Gallo
    July 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Emily, I’m so glad that you did that for your grandmother! I’m sure not only was she blessed to have you all there; but obviously you all were blessed by being there! I know it took a lot of effort on your part – getting kids ready, lots of travel time, etc.
    What a precious memory you gave her to have you all there! It means EVERYTHING to older family members to have you come and brighten their day & take them away from the daily, dull, lonely routine they are in normally.

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